JUMPING FOR JOY: Thérèse Dunn, of Wollongbar, and her son Isaac Maher, 10, who spends at least two hours practising his wrestling moves on the backyard trampoline each afternoon.
JUMPING FOR JOY: Thérèse Dunn, of Wollongbar, and her son Isaac Maher, 10, who spends at least two hours practising his wrestling moves on the backyard trampoline each afternoon. DAVID NIELSEN

Study highlights kids’ health

LET the kids run, ride or even bounce.

This is what a recent study has found on working parents and the difficulty they have in ensuring that their children exercised regularly and ate the proper food.

Ten-year-old Isaac Maher, of Wollongbar, spends at least two hours a day bouncing on the backyard trampoline, his mother Thérèse Dunn said.

Even though Ms Dunn works full time in Lismore she knows that her son needs physical activity and a nutritious snack after school. She makes freshly-squeezed apple, orange and kiwi fruit juice and freezes it for when Isaac comes home.

The United Kingdom Millennium Cohort Study analysed more than 12,000 children aged five and found that when both parents, and in particular the mother, was working the health of the child suffered.

Children whose mothers worked were more likely to have soft drinks, watch more television and less likely to walk or ride their bike to school. The time-poor factor of working mothers meant fewer opportunities to provide healthy food and less likelihood for physical activity, the study concluded.

“I don’t have junk food in the house. It’s just easier not to have it in the house at all,” Ms Dunn said.
Popcorn was a quick and easy snack as an alternative to junk food she said.

Nutrition and physical activity co-ordinator Jillian Adams, from North Coast Area Health, said the critical time for physical activity was between 3-5pm, which is when mothers were still at work.

“There is a correlation between the time spent outdoors and physical activity,” she said.
Associate professor Jo Salmon, from the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research at Deakin University in Victoria, offered her advice to parents.

“If it is daylight, get the kids outside.”

She didn’t want mothers to feel guilty by the results of the UK study but wanted them to think about what they fed their child and how they could incorporate exercise into their child’s daily routine. She used to get up at 5.30am and cut carrot sticks for her kid’s lunches.

“Planning is really important,” she said.


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